Leaving middle school in 2009, I was pushing 130 pounds. Once my hormones settled a bit and I began to play volleyball year round, I ended my freshman year at 108, but even at my smallest, I saw myself as fat and felt that I a lot of weight to loose.
Now I look back at photos of myself at that time and think, “Girl, you were crazy to think you were fat, you were all bones!”. Fast forward to today, 9 years later and once again pushing 130 pounds, except this time I’m happy.
I once saw myself and my body so negatively. I would get my Seventeen Magazines and tear out the little workout section and put them in a folder in my desk. When I would get home from volleyball, do all of my homework (which as an AP/IB student was a lot), and open up one of those pages and workout more in my room. I would read about the craziest weightloss tips and would carry chia seeds around with me to “make myself full” and not want to eat as if that balanced out getting YogurtLand in the first place. I would go to our spare room and get on my mom’s elliptical and do tons of cardio which, to this day, I HATE cardio!
In high school, I started dating someone who was on the basketball team and one of the coach’s wives was a personal trainer. She would go in every few days and train the boys in the weight room and do ab circuits with them and invited me to come along too. At this time, I had injured my left knee over and over from gymnastics and volleyball and had completed physical therapy so I could play for my senior year. Heading into senior orientation, my car was hit on the side and totaled and my doctor said I would have to start physical therapy for my knee all over again in order to play. At this point, the season was starting and I hated going to the PT who was so far from my home, so I sucked it up and didn’t play my senior year. To fill up my time and since I was going to attend all of the basketball games for my boyfriend anyway, I was asked to be the “stat girl” and I would get volunteer hours and could go to any of their training days.
One of the days, the coach’s wife Mrs. Stein, sat me down and asked me about my fitness goals. I told her I just want to be in shape and she explained that I am in shape but could be stronger, and she wrote me a little fitness plan. At the time, I had begun to go to 24 Hour Fitness and would use her plan for over a year, eventually going up in weight and gaining strength but never actually doing strength training. By the time I got to college, I began to do more research to switch up my routine. I cancelled my gym membership and went to my school’s free on-campus gym and worked there during the summer of 2015 where I saw what other people were doing.
When I moved back home for my senior semester, I went back to 24 Hour Fitness and saw a trainer there who I had become friends with years back. The had a promo going on for 6 training sessions and I signed right up. He helped me with my form and we did a lot of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which wasn’t my favorite but allowed me to realize that I’m much more capable than I thought I was. When the training sessions ended, I didn’t purchase more but my passion for fitness, strength training, and proper nutrition really took off.
By October of 2017, I finally had it mostly figured out and I had spent much of my down time at work reading and researching everything I could about fitness; my obsession with learning the ins and outs began! While it had been 8 years since the start of my fitness journey at this point, the last year felt like the true start where I felt completely dedicated to it. I began my Lo Without Limits Instagram and used it to follow a bunch of health, nutrition, and fitness accounts that way that feed was focused on that and wouldn’t clog up my personal feed and vice versa. One of the first accounts I found was Lauren Tickner, I read all of her posts, watched her YouTube videos, and bought her Strength Feed Training Guide. It wasn’t a lot but spending that decent amount of money on something I could use over and over meant that I HAD to do it.
Since I was still so obsessed with the gym and wanting to get the best workout until I can’t anymore, I would find myself spending up to TWO HOURS there. It was cutting into my life and I wasn’t seeing any progress from my excessive workouts so of course, I would want to workout MORE. Once starting that training guide and being given a specific amount of workouts to do in each session, I felt like my life had freed up and after three months of the first round, I had amazing progress!
I wasn’t into working out to be the skinniest anymore, like my intentions when I was 15, but rather to feel confident in my body and it’s capabilities. On a day by day basis, I noticed no changes besides that I was able to squat a lift a bit more each time, but seeing a side by side of the day I started and my last day, the fact that I had a butt was crazy to me! I have never had any form of a butt and now there is something there, something strong that I worked hard for! I would say I worked my ass off but tbh, I worked it on (bad joke, I know, but I wrote it anyway).
I took a couple weeks off of still working out but much lighter and began round 2 this past spring. My body and strength didn’t improve too much the second time around and since finishing, I have just been doing my own thing at the gym since I didn’t want to start again when we had our vacation planned. Even without seeing a major change though, doing it again still taught me so much.
Right now, since I’m off of work, I am going six days a week but it is not sustainable because come work time. I would rather have 4 days that I know I can make versus 6 days and beating myself up for having to miss one. Twice a week I am doing a “push day” of chest, shoulders, and triceps, a “pull day” of back and biceps, and a “leg day”. Now that I do have more free time too, I find myself wanting to stay at the gym forever again so I am working to either start Strength Feed again or find a new workout program so I can stay focused when I work out.
My relationship with food is amazing, and while I don’t 100% eat clean or track macros, my nutrition is pretty great. I do track my food when I can because I want a strong metabolism and for that, you need to eat. When I started tracking, I realized that I wasn’t even hitting maintenance calories which slowed my metabolism and in turn hindered my strength gains and physique. When I began tracking, I also thought I was eating what I was putting in and that turned out to be wrong too. When I moved into my apartment, I bought myself a small food scale and realized that my idea of “4 oz. of chicken” was barely 2 oz! This whole time I had been tracking calories that I WASN’T EVEN EATING and when I saw what 4 ounces of chicken actually looks like, I saw how much more I could be getting and how much fuller that can make me. I do like to use my body as a diet experiment though, and I’ve 95% cut out dairy, 99% of red meat (pulled pork is my weak spot), and have tried intermittent fasting and I would love to try out other diets as well. And while I did call these “diets”, I’d say they’re more “lifestyle forms”.
My fitness goals are also no longer based on how I physically look but rather on what I can physically do. My first one was to do an unassisted pull up by December 31, 2017. A few days before the new year, I went to a pull up bar and accomplished that goal plus a few more! THAT is what excited me and reminded me why I LOVE to workout, to see what I am capable of and that I can do it when I work and train to those goals. I couldn’t think of a new fitness goal for awhile after that. I thought “eh, maybe to be able to back squat double my body weight” which is a great goal that I want to do eventually, but as I’m perfecting my back squat, I’ve had to go a bit lighter on the weight and I don’t want that goal to loom over me and I end up hurting myself if I try to do it too soon. A few weeks ago, I realized that my new fitness goal is to be able to pistol squat on each leg by September 1st of this year. Even on days I don’t workout, I pistol squat to a chair behind me and work on my mobility every day.
I also want to switch up my workouts outside of the weight room. I want to go to the beach and play more volleyball with my friends (cardio I can enjoy), do yoga even just in my living room to work on my mobility and flexibility, calisthenics to be able to lift and move my own body weight, and fun stuff like boxing or more stand-up paddle boarding.
As of now, THIS is my fitness journey, but it’s just that, a JOURNEY! I know there will be so many more accomplishments, that there is still so much more to learn and try in terms of working out and nutrition, but that there will also be some downs and setbacks. Not every workout can be amazing and 100% but I will continue to go and try and put in 100% of the effort, even if it means just getting a quick workout in my apartment. I will continue to learn and dive further and further into this passion of mine and I can’t wait to continue to share it here!
If you have any questions or comments, let me know! I would love to share so much more and hear about your fitness journey wether you’ve been on it for as long as I have or are just getting started.